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Culture

7:30pm May 15, 2012

Is Obama Making Black Men Soft?

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BY KIMORA COCHRAN

Within seconds of announcing his support for gay marriage, President Barack Obama was morphed into the “The First Gay President” – instead of the “First Black President,” as we all affectionately knew him to be.

Since then, preachers, clergy, community leaders and social justice advocates across the country have rushed to vocalize their disgust with the President’s personal view on gay marriage.  But, why are they so upset?

It’s no secret: many African American fathers would prefer their son be a drug dealer than to be gay, if forced to pick the lesser of two “evils.” Historically, African Americans have been more intolerable towards gays (especially gay men) than other racial groups. Only 39 percent of African Americans favor gay marriage, compared with 47 percent of White Americans, according to a Pew poll conducted in April 2012. In the same study, 49 percent of Blacks and 43 percent of Whites are opposed to gay marriage.

The lion’s share of Black opposition to gay marriage can be attributed to their deep-seated religious beliefs. Some would even argue that the friction between African Americans and gay people stems from the common comparison of gay people struggling for civil rights just like African Americans were forced to.

Either way, it has all come crashing down in the lap of the President this week. And there are Black folks out there who fear it has come crashing down on them, as well.

The conversation is being held in barber shops, salons and churches everywhere: has Obama’s revelation weakened the social/cultural power of Black men in ways that deteriorate their role as defenders, providers, and strong role models? During a day and time when African American women are already concerned about discovering their man is a “down low brotha”, did Obama just make it tougher for Black men to enter into a trustworthy relationship?

When Black men are constantly portrayed as effeminate on television and in movies ( i.e. Tyler Perry’s Madea series; gay fraternity brother Calvin on Greek; Alex Newell on The Glee Project and Lafayette in True Blood) was this really a good time for the first Black President to come out in support of gay marriage, knowing that gay is commonly associated with femininity?

The honest and concrete answer to all of the above mentioned questions was penned down in a quote by civil rights activist, Black intellectual father and Pan-Africanist W.E.B. DuBois over 75 years ago. DuBois spoke about African Americans’ sensitive nature when it comes to their portrayal in media:

We want everything that is said about us to tell of the best and highest and noblest in us. We insist that our Art and Propaganda be one. We fear that the evil in us will be called racial while in others it is viewed as individual. We fear that our shortcomings are not merely human but foreshadowings and threatenings of disaster and failure.

That is where President Obama struck the true cord with African Americans. Somewhere during his four year term we’ve allowed the opinions and actions of the President to not be those of his own, but to be the beliefs and opinions of the entire African American race.

As recognized by Pastor Jamal Bryant earlier this week, African Americans elected a President, a Commander-in-Chief – not our personal Pastor-in-Chief, not a father, and certainly not Jesus. Therefore, allow his opinions on gay marriage to be just that … HIS!

If one supports the gay rights opinion of our President that is his/her God given choice to do so. If one does not then so be it. However, do not persecute and blame him for the further demise of African American men, especially when the self proclaimed “greatest rapper alive” Jay-Z has also stated he too, a major Black business mogul – who our Black sons also admire – is in full agreement with Obama’s views on gay marriage. As much we all enjoy singing “Empire State of Mind” every time it comes on the radio, it is only fair to admit Shawn Carter’s hits like “Big Pimpin’”, “Money Cash H**s” and the likes have damaged the image of Black men more severely than Obama’s opinion on gay marriage ever will.

Lastly, to all African American’s who are basing their opinions and ridicule against the President strictly upon of their religious beliefs, lest I remind you of two Scriptures from the Bible: John 8:7 and Matthew 7:1.



About the Author

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8 Comments


  1. Wesley

    "has Obama’s revelation weakened the social/cultural power of Black men in ways that deteriorate their role as defenders, providers, and strong role models." Nice article…but do you really think this is the image most of the world holds of African American men? Do you think this is the percieved image most African American males share for themselves and other black males? As "providers and strong role models"??? hmmm Idk. The mindset and image of African American males was damaged long before Obamas advocation of gay marriage IMO. And we have far more pressing issues to deal with. Nice article, though.


  2. Kimora Cochran
    Kimora_Cochran

    Thanks for your comment Wesley! I agree that there are more severe issues, as well as the point you made regarding the image of black men prior to this comment, prime reason I put the comment in the article regarding Jay-Z and his music. Thanks again for reading the post :D


  3. Laurel

    I appreciate this article's presentation of multiple facets and thank you for audaciously suggesting that people have the right to their own opinions. I wonder where individuality comes in? I mean, it was ridiculous when people suggested that all African Americans were going to vote for Obama in the last election based only on the color of his skin, with no regard to his character or politics. It seems equally ridiculous (at least in my opinion) that African Americans should worry that that same man's opinion will somehow damage everyone as a whole.

    And it's not like our President has had much luck passing laws or getting anything done with Congress blocking him at every chance, so as it is his opinion regarding the equality of all human beings may not lead to much anyway :/


    • Kimora Cochran
      Kimora_Cochran

      *cues round of applause for Laurel *

      YES! I totally understand what you mean with the blanketed statements. Clearly, the opinion of this one man, whether he is President or peasant, should not dictate the thoughts, actions or assumptions of an entire race. If he lost someone's vote over his opinion on gay marriage, than good luck with the Mormon Romney.


  4. I had to wrestle with my opinion on this matter, but how can we as a community support the oppression of anyone? All oppressive propaganda and practices derive from White-Male Supremacy. All oppression comes from the same source of thought: YOU are not a Man (Masculine aka heterosexual), you are not Educated, you are not a landowner (aka wealthy), and you are not an Englishman (aka white).

    Our Black Community demonstrates by that we have internalized the reasons for our own oppression and for the oppression of others. We believe that some people should not have full rights, and others should. We have internalized these "anti-non-white-male" ideologies. Anytime we support any of these "anti-ideologies", anti-gay, anti-women, etc., we indirectly support our own oppression.

    So, for that reason I have recently changed my opinion on the issue of gay marriage. They should have the same rights I do.

    There is a deceptive practice of incrementally limiting the rights of our citizens, one isolated group at a time. Once they limit the rights of our gay neighbor, our Muslim neighbor, our Hispanic neighbor, the Black Community, and our Women, then who shall be left to fight for equality? We have to stand against all forms of oppression.


    • Kimora Cochran
      Kimora_Cochran

      Thomas, what a great angel to look at the issue! I can understand your statements regarding the "antis-being an oppression of its own." Thanks for the comment!


  5. [...] Is Obama Making Black Men Soft? | Political News and Opinion from a Multicultural Point of View. [...]


  6. [...] Is Obama Making Black Men Soft? | Political News and Opinion from a Multicultural Point of View. [...]



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